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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Union Rules

This is discouraging, but what else is new. "Politix," our political "system," or SOPs in our Executive and Legislative branches are so mismanaged, so far from the original intent of a balanced standard of 'self-government' [anything other than a patriarchal tradition, which oppresses its citizenry from birth; now we have a plutocracy, where lobbyists and lawyers determine the value of life, our lives in this country that was supposed to stand for good things like equality, opportunity and freedom from the very dysfunction we now accept as 'business as usual' in Washington...] that it's hard for me to engage in the meanderings of professional pundits, any analysis of our economic infrastructure (which might as well be Lego-land) and trying to assign meaning or logic to anything associated with government.

And I used to have so much faith in the ability to effect change through patience with the bill passing system when I was the Chairperson for the Hawaii Chapter of the Sierra Club and we were able to win beach access through dogged determination and citizen action, lead by the amazingly talented and committed legal expertise of David Kimo Frankel. Now I feel like the dog in the "Far Side," who when his master speaks, only hears, 'blah blah blah blah blah...'

So with that incredibly cynical introduction over with, I now introduce you to an analysis of our working class and how we have lost the original intent, once again, of a labor union, which was to protect workers from the Industrial Revolution, from being abused and mistreated and to balance out the power between the $ 125 severance package crown and the guy who gets a pension at the end of 30 years of service (which used to be fifty, now you're lucky if your job has a salary and benefits).

Therefore, yes, the simple thesis I propose is, yes, naturally the Democratic party which is the one that looks after the underserved as a matter of conscience [v. the rather Machiavellian, not entirely foolproof system endorsed by the 'trickle down' theorists, which is that anyone can pull themselves up by their bootstrap in a free market society, endorsed, of course, by the haves as a way to absolve any responsibility to one's citizenry, a place where a safety net for hard times is a given, where people are given the tools they need, relative to their circumstance, to survive and then succeed--precisely because it is not a level playing field; case in point, the Bush family does not have to deal with the day-to-day challenges of abject poverty or lack of savings to bail someone out in a jam; the Republican trust fund includes a head start, as the most ardent supporters of cutting funding for 'social programs' are generally the ones who favor lower taxes in proportion to income -- so if you are rich, you get to keep more of it.

I am ambivalent as to unions, I only feel that they should exist as a protection for workers when the bottom line gets too out of control. But I don't feel that unions work for the most part. In my industry, they are painfully neglectful of a professional freelance base that is economically vulnerable -- when you don't know how many months you will work over the next year -- maybe 4 , maybe 6 -- it's hard to also fund your own health benefits, ROTH IRA and not fall into debt when you are 'out of work' and unemployment benefits disqualify you for actually working. [Thanks State of California for penalizing me for being honest about my income and then, when I am out of work, denying me my already-paid-for unemployment so I can survive during the lean times...this only stresses the system further because our 'job insecurity' in the entertainment industry creates economic uncertainty for those of use who work many contract jobs in a year. [Or not...sometimes not enough jobs at all...]

I, for one, could use help with this in my constantly declining pay rate over the years, while my skill level increases:
Through their extensive political activity," says Mr DiSalvo, "these government-workers' unions help elect the very politicians who will act as 'management' in their contract negotiations—

But on the other side of that coin, you hear the news about fat cat bureaucrats eating bon bons on our long hours and lack of benefits. Something has to give. The DGA, for one, should let us in if we direct any form of life in front of the camera and craft the story in an edit bay, wrangling an unruly process, directing the crafting of the final piece. If I could be in a union where I had some access to health care and some kind of strength in numbers, sanity based on real life experience and a wise and efficient use of resources--that to me is what a union could and should be -- a way to move forward as a collection of people who share a skill set and just want to be paid fairly and have some hope of a future beyond next month.

So here's the story of party allegiances and the land that Jimmy Hoffa built:
Amid savage private-sector job cuts, one-third of the funds from the 2009 stimulus bill went to state and local governments, mainly to rescue public-sector employees.


ON FRIDAY the Wall Street Journal provided a wonderful bit of irony: despite the howls of indignation from the Democrats over private campaign spending, it turns out that the biggest sugar daddy is the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), a public-sector labour union that spends almost all of its cash for the Democrats. AFSCME accounts for roughly 30% of spending from pro-Democratic groups. A piece from US News and World Report points out that, in total, "Big Labour" is spending more private cash than the Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads (Karl Rove's outfit) combined.


By the way do you think the Mexican drug cartels could be considered unions of a sort?